Wild will need to be physical to beat Philly
TUESDAY'S STORY LINE: Gritty. Hard Working. Physical. Those are some words that described Minnesota's efforts in a 3-2 Saturday shootout loss to St. Louis. The Wild blocked 29 shots, won battles in the corners, instigated physical play and competed on every level with a very tough Blues team.
Defenseman Justin Falk set the tone early in the first period, dropping the gloves with Blues captain David Backes.
Without finesse skilled players Mikko Koivu and Pierre-Marc Bouchard, the Wild will have to rely on such gritty play to be successful.
"That is the way we have to play right now," coach Mike Yeo said Tuesday. "We are not built to be a finesse team to go out and try to dipsy-doodle around the ice. We are going to have to play a real hard game. Teams like Philadelphia and St. Louis, they are ready to rumble like that."
The need for a physical game played a big part in Minnesota's decision to call up Carson McMillan. The 6-foot-1, 197-pound forward plays a tough game, and that is what Yeo is looking for Tuesday night against the Flyers.
"We expect a physical game," Yeo said. "They have a lot of big, strong, skilled forwards. We were looking for a guy (McMillan) that is going to go out there and compete and play with an edge. Anything we are going to do tonight, we are going to have earn it. We are going to have to do it the hard way, and he is the kind of guy that can play that game."
The Wild worked hard and earned one point Saturday, and they also earned confidence that could come in handy Tuesday night.
"I think you look at the team we were playing (St. Louis), they are a big, mean team," forward Kyle Brodziak said. "You see their record at home, they have the best home record in the league and we had as big as a chance to get two points as they did. That is big for our confidence level."
Minnesota was beaming with confidence at the beginning of the season. But since Dec. 13, Minnesota has gone 2-9-4. Last week against St. Louis and San Jose, the Wild got back to playing their game. Another consistent effort tonight without Koivu, Bouchard and Guillaume Latendresse could help Minnesota get back on track.
"Any game that we can come in, play our game effectively without these guys in the lineup, it builds our confidence," Yeo said. "Games like last game, like the San Jose game, now we are talking two out of three. If we can come out and play another one now, we have got to three of four games where we have gotten to our game and we have done the things that we are supposed to do. That is a good indication that we are getting back to where we need to be as a team."
HE SAID IT: "The game is a little bit different, but we scout the other team like we do any other team in the Eastern Conference. We don't see them as often, so we might spend more time on video. But for us, the Flyers, we need to play our game. We need to make a couple adjustments to who we are playing against, but at the same time we have to do our things and play in our system." – Flyers Forward Max Talbot on playing Western Conference teams